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PB&J Protein Balls

2017 June 20
by Emily Hill

PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries.

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Easy PB&J Protein Balls -- PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Protein balls (a.k.a. protein bites) are one of my most favorite healthy snacks. They’re simple to make, super easy to eat on the go and a great way to get in a solid serving of protein. They’re also absolutely delicious…or at least the protein bites I make because I’m all about healthy snacks tasting good.

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Easy PB&J Protein Balls -- PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. | isthisreallymylife.com

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In past recipes for protein balls, I’ve paired peanut butter with chocolate, peanut butter with coconut and peanut butter with cherries (and sometimes peanut butter with all of the above!). But I’m a sucker for a classic PB&J sandwich and knew there had to be a way to translate that flavor into a protein ball recipe.

I was so totally right.

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Easy PB&J Protein Balls -- PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. | isthisreallymylife.com

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One of the secrets to these PB&J protein balls is combining natural, creamy peanut butter with unsweetened coconut, rolled oats and honey (a great natural sweetener) and then throwing in a healthy serving of finely diced dried strawberries. I had no idea I could buy dried strawberries but my life has forever changed since I discovered them.

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Easy PB&J Protein Balls -- PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. | isthisreallymylife.com

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The other secret is using one of Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Boosters. The company’s new plant-based protein powders are made using clean ingredients and are an excellent source of protein (20g per serving), omega-3s (240 mg per serving) and fiber. They’re also gluten free, vegan and sweetened with Monk fruit. (Monk fruit is a sweet fruit with origins in Asia; it’s used as a healthy, natural way to sweeten without the added calories of sugar.)

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Bobs Red Mill Nutritional Boosters.

And guess what? Every protein powder in the line of Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Boosters features chia seeds and probiotics.

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Bobs Red Mill Nutritional Boosters.

Those protein powders have a lot going for them, which is why I knew the Vanilla Protein Powder Nutritional Booster would be perfect for these PB&J protein balls.

I basically love all things Bob’s Red Mill. No lie.

Making these protein balls is super simple. First, you combine the peanut butter, honey and vanilla in a large bowl.

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Easy PB&J Protein Balls -- PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. | isthisreallymylife.com.

Second, you add the protein powder, coconut, ground flaxseed, oats, chia seeds and diced dried strawberries.

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Easy PB&J Protein Balls -- PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. | isthisreallymylife.com.

Then you use a spoon or medium cookie dough scoop to form into balls.

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Easy PB&J Protein Balls -- PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. | isthisreallymylife.com.

Place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and you’re ready for healthy snacking on the go! We have a lot of swim meets this summer and you better believe this will be in our cooler alongside carrots, yogurt, string cheese, grapes and goldfish crackers!

Don’t wait to make these PB&J protein balls—they’re at the top of my list! Make sure you use this Bob’s Red Mill coupon to save $3 on any Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Booster!

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Easy PB&J Protein Balls -- PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Printable recipe for PB&J protein balls below. Enjoy!
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PB&J Protein Balls
 
Prep time
Total time
 
PB&J protein balls are perfect for PB&J lovers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack thanks to creamy peanut butter and diced dried strawberries. Makes approx. 12 protein balls or protein bites.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Healthy
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup Bob's Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder Nutritional Booster (or your favorite vanilla protein powder)
  • ⅓ cup ground flaxseed meal (I like Bob's Red Mill)
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (also Bob's Red Mill)
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup finely diced dried strawberries
Instructions
  1. Mix together peanut butter, honey and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. Add protein powder, coconut, flaxseed, oats, chia seeds and strawberries. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Form into 12 balls using a medium scoop or large spoon. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.
Notes
Because not all peanut butters and protein powders are created equally, you may need to add more peanut butter or honey to help the mixture stick together.

 
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Crunchy Peanut Butter Protein Bites -- These crunchy peanut butter protein bites are some of the easiest and tastiest protein bites (aka protein balls) I have ever made! | isthisreallymylife.com


Crunchy peanut butter protein bites

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No-bake peanut butter oatmeal protein bites 1 -- THE BEST recipe for energy bites I have ever tasted!


Peanut butter oatmeal protein bites

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Cherry chocolate chip protein bites


Cherry chocolate chip protein bites

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Protein energy bites


Protein energy bites

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Energy Bites or Protein Bites Two Ways: Cherry or Chocolate Chip


Energy bites two ways (cherry & chocolate chip)

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER; the content and opinions expressed are my own.
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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free Is This Really My Life updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Mini Fruit Pizzas Recipe

2017 June 13
by Emily Hill

Mini fruit pizzas are a fun and festive dessert for the 4th of July or any celebration! Top ’em with berries, diced kiwi…even mandarin oranges!

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Mini Fruit Pizzas -- Mini fruit pizzas are a fun and festive dessert for the 4th of July or any celebration! Top them with berries, diced kiwi...even mandarin oranges! | isthisreallymylife.com


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Post may include affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and purchase something, you won’t pay anything extra but it will help support this blog.

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The first time I made mini fruit pizzas it was for my sister’s baby shower four years ago. I have no idea why we haven’t made them since because they are so much fun for guests and make for a really pretty dessert.

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Mini Fruit Pizzas -- Mini fruit pizzas are a fun and festive dessert for the 4th of July or any celebration! Top them with berries, diced kiwi...even mandarin oranges! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Those large fruit pizzas kind of intimidate me, so I’m a fan of this mini-me version. Plus the sugar cookie recipe is one of my favorites, and that cream cheese frosting I could totally eat with a spoon.

Speaking of spoons, for uniformly-shaped cookies, make sure to use a medium cookie scoop. It makes the perfect size sugar cookies for mini fruit pizzas.

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Mini Fruit Pizzas -- Mini fruit pizzas are a fun and festive dessert for the 4th of July or any celebration! Top them with berries, diced kiwi...even mandarin oranges! | isthisreallymylife.com

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My favorite way to eat this is topped with diced strawberries, but we couldn’t resist making them a bit more festive for the 4th of July holiday by throwing in some blueberries. You can tell we had a lot of fun coming up with different ways to decorate the mini fruit pizzas.

The strawberry heart is my most favorite.

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Mini Fruit Pizzas -- Mini fruit pizzas are a fun and festive dessert for the 4th of July or any celebration! Top them with berries, diced kiwi...even mandarin oranges! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Of course you don’t have to stick with the red, white and blue theme. You can elevate them to an even classier dessert by topping them with a combination of blackberries, diced kiwi, diced strawberry and a mandarin orange slice. Or let your guests do the decorating by providing a mini fruit pizza bar!

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Mini Fruit Pizzas -- Mini fruit pizzas are a fun and festive dessert for the 4th of July or any celebration! Top them with berries, diced kiwi...even mandarin oranges! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Printable recipe for mini fruit pizzas below. Enjoy!
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Mini Fruit Pizzas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Mini fruit pizzas are a fun and festive dessert for the 4th of July or any celebration! Top 'em with berries, diced kiwi...even mandarin oranges! Makes approx. 4 dozen cookies.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Serves: 24
Ingredients
Sugar cookies
  • 2¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting
  • 2 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 to 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 to 2 tsp vanilla extract (to taste)
Toppings
  • Fresh fruit such as diced berries, blueberries, sliced bananas, diced peaches, diced kiwi or mandarin orange slices
Instructions
Sugar cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Roll rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and lightly golden. Let stand on cookie sheet 2 minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.
Frosting
  1. Cream together cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla.
  2. Gradually add confectioner's sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. Frost cooled cookies and top with fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

 
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Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies - Coconut chocolate chunk cookies are a total crowd pleaser. They're soft, chewy and the perfect dessert for backyard barbecues or poolside picnics! | isthisreallymylife.com


Coconut chocolate chunk cookies

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Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies -- These chewy peanut butter cup cookies are a classic and always a hit at cookie exchanges. They're also perfect for those holiday cookie plates!


Chewy peanut butter cup cookies

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Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies -- Harry & Horsie's CookieBot would have no problem inhaling these pretzel chocolate chip cookies. They're soft, chewy and chocolaty with the right amount of crunch!


Pretzel chocolate chip cookies

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Butterbeer Sandwich Cookies -- Butterbeer sandwich cookies are the perfect dessert for Butterbeer lovers. They're combine buttery butterscotch & toffee cookies with a rich, creamy butterscotch frosting and are simply magical.


Butterbeer sandwich cookies

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Healthy Orange Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies -- whole wheat flour, unsweetened coconut, orange zest and semisweet chocolate. A dense, chewy cookie packed with flavor!


Post may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.
Healthy orange oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

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Salted caramel toffee Rolo cookies


Salted caramel toffee Rolo cookies

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, you should browse my “best of” Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” Is This Really My Life on Facebook. It won’t earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free Is This Really My Life updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover: It’s All About Ambiance

2017 June 7
by Emily Hill

Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com


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Disclosure: This is a compensated post for Jasco. The content and opinions expressed are my own.

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Longtime readers of this blog know about the only things I regularly DIY are recipes. I’ve created the occasional printable (these gift tags are my favorite) and even refashioned a unisex concert t-shirt, but those projects are few and far between.

I’ve been dying for a master bedroom makeover. Unfortunately, all the bedroom makeovers I’ve seen are way out of my league. They involve far too much spray paint, pillow coordinating and power tools. I’m a simple gal who wanted a simple master bedroom makeover, so I ignored the Pinterest pins and went with the right amount of DIYing:

  • Organizing (closet, dresser and corner-of-the-room dejunking)
  • Spray painting (cutlery tray transformed into “Nathan’s random crap from atop the dresser” tray)
  • Shopping (two lamps, one throw pillow, one succulent planter, one set of bookends and one Klimt on canvas)
  • Creative thinking (outdoor Edison-style cafe lights brought indoors for some serious ambiance)

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And by serious ambiance I mean romantic, mini-oasis-from-life, why-didn’t-we-do-this-sooner ambiance.

For reals.

We took Enbrighten Color Changing Café Lights—the type of lights you’d typically use only outdoors—and attached them to our canopy bed. I’m not lying when I tell you it’s the best part of the master bedroom makeover.

Now it’s time for the before and after photos. I always try to be completely honest (you can check my Instagram stories if you don’t believe me), so the before photos are truly what it looked like, messes and all. You’ll also see that the after photos aren’t that much different aside from the “DIYing” listed above. But what a different those simple changes—and those Enbrighten Color Changing Café Lights—made!

BEFORE

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

I bought that lamp from World Market over a decade ago.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

We’ve had this canopy bed for nearly 17 years. I love it.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

I have way too many treasures on here.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

Nathan thinks the couch is a second dresser.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

The top of his dresser causes me anxiety…

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

…as does this little corner.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

The guy’s nightstand needs a little TLC.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com
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AFTER

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

I love how decluttered everything looks and those lamps are to die for!

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

We are book lovers so we placed books all over the room.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

Gotta have a succulent! I found this one at my local grocery store.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

I found our favorite Klimt on canvas. Swoon.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

More books! And fresh flowers from our rose bushes. Don’t forget the chocolate!

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

I spray painted that bamboo cutlery box (color: Rust-Oleum Lagoon). It’s the perfect organizer. And more books!

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

I couldn’t resist this new throw pillow. It’s an outdoor one but it works perfectly!

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

No more shoes! They found a home in the closet. You’re welcome, babe.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

Another shot of my new favorite lamps. *sigh*

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Nathan and I love how uncluttered our bedroom feels even though we probably have more decor than we previously had. Or maybe we just have more books, which is way okay with me. I called this makeover a simple master bedroom makeover because it was accomplished in one afternoon and although it wasn’t one of those “under $10” makeovers, it was still super budget friendly.

But let’s be honest; the best part about the bedroom makeover are the cafe lights. Enbrighten Color Changing Café Lights by Jasco are Edison-style lights that combine the functionality and durability of Jasco’s standard LED lights with a vintage feel and the coolest—THE COOLEST—color modes.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

These lights are my favorite part of the makeover.

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Enbrighten Color Changing Café Lights

Nathan used tiny screws to attach them.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

Check out the “come hither” vibe they give off.

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Enbrighten Color Changing Café Lights

This remote is the bees knees. Nathan can hardly put it down.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

Check out the multi-color function!

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover -- Edison-style cafe lights are the secret to creating the perfect (romantic) ambiance in this simple master bedroom makeover. | isthisreallymylife.com

Lovely.

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Enbrighten Color Changing Café Lights

I had to snag one artistic shot.


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Check out all the cool features you get with Enbrighten Color Changing Café Lights:

  • Remote control — color-changing capability with the press of a button
  • Built-in timer — your grownup night light
  • Linkable up to 750 feet — perfect for home theaters and rec rooms
  • Flexible mounting options — in case you don’t have a cool canopy like ours
  • Multiple color options — sports team colors, anyone?
  • Dimmable — perfect for setting the mood
  • Lifetime LED bulbs — unlike your typical outdoor colored lights
  • Impact resistant — an important feature if they’re in a rec room…or bedroom

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Imagine all the different ways you could use these babies: backyard parties, wedding reception (indoor and outdoor), home theater, bedroom, walkway, outdoor chandelier, indoor fort…the possibilities are endless!

For more ideas, check out this DIY Spaces Pinterest board.

By the way, one of the things I didn’t dejunk was the handcrafted sign on our master bedroom door. Because, hello, it’s going to be worth millions when Livi grows up.

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Simple Master Bedroom Makeover
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And now I need to head upstairs. My “new” bedroom and all those books (and chocolate) are calling me…

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, you should browse my “best of” Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” Is This Really My Life on Facebook. It won’t earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free Is This Really My Life updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Nucleus: The Old-School Intercom Gets a High-Tech Makeover

2017 June 5
by Emily Hill

Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled “anywhere intercom,” free mobile app and good ol’ Amazon Alexa.

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com


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Disclosure: Nucleus provided product in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and mine. Post may include affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and purchase something, you won’t pay anything extra but it will help support this blog.

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When we bought our first home, I don’t know if I was more excited about the cookie sheet organizer above the fridge or the intercom system. This was before Bluetooth speakers and “there’s an app for that” smartphones and tablets, so the fact you could check on your kids (who’ve been silent far too long) without having to hike up two flights of stairs was pretty dang cool. Of course, there wasn’t video capability; you had to use your power of discernment to figure out if the noises you heard were crayons on paper or Sharpie on walls.

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com
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While my kids are beyond the stage of Sharpie on everything but paper, they are old enough to stay home alone. But at 9 and 11, they don’t own cell phones nor do we have a land line, which makes it a little tricky to get in touch. In addition, our home has a second floor and a basement. At night, half my kids are two flights away, a fact that makes the 11-year-old a little nervous. And I admit, not being able to hear him if he’s in trouble (i.e., blowing chunks after midnight), makes me a bit nervous too.

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com
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When I saw Nucleus at CES 2017, it was truly one of my favorite products. I loved the idea of an “anywhere intercom”—an intercom that connects over WiFi, has an accompanying app and can connect room to room and home to home (I’m trying to convince my parents to get one!). Plus it has a 120-degree HD camera AND is compatible with Amazon Alexa.

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com
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Before I get to the pros and cons (fortunately more pros than cons), here’s a little video to introduce you to the new Nucleus:
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And here are a few of the basics:

  • Plug in the power cable and follow on-screen prompts to set up your Nucleus in just minutes.
  • Connect to the internet via WiFi or Ethernet.
  • Use your unique Home and Remote codes to establish secure connections between devices.
  • Interact room to room, home to home or mobile to home.
  • Toggle among Instant answer, Privacy (manual answer) or Do Not Disturb.
  • Slide the shutter over the camera to remove a room from view.
  • Call using voice and/or video.
  • Use the mobile app (compatible with iPhone 5s or later and Android 5 or later) to check in from anywhere.
  • Play music, control smart devices and start a call using your voice thanks to Amazon Alexa compatibility.

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Nucelus home screen
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I’m not lying when I say I thoroughly enjoyed the packaging.

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com
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We put a Nucleus intercom in our kitchen, the master bedroom and the basement. It took less than 15 minutes to set up the first device including creating an account, receiving our home’s unique code, connecting to WiFi, updating the software and enabling Alexa. It took even less time to set up the remaining devices.

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com
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I downloaded the Nucleus mobile app and had Nathan and the older two girls do the same. They used our unique code to connect (I had to approve their requests) and then did their best to create the perfect account names.

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Nucelus mobile app
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Note: If you use only emojis as your name, you can’t use Alexa on your Nucleus intercom because she doesn’t speak emoji.

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Nucleus -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com
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You’ve gotta love my girls’ senses of humor when it comes to their account names (and mine). They thoroughly enjoy it when I have to say, “Alexa, use Nucleus to call The Favorite,” or, “Alexa, use Nucleus to call The Best.”

Here are a couple screen shots of the Nucleus app in action. I was heading home from running errands and wanted to see what everyone was up to. I first tried the kitchen…

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Nucleus Life app -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Nucleus Life app -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Nucleus Life app -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com
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But apparently no one wanted to talk to me. Then I tried the basement…

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Nucleus Life app -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com

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Nucleus Life app -- Nucleus is connecting families at home and across the country with its WiFi-enabled "anywhere intercom," free mobile app and good ol' Amazon Alexa. | isthisreallymylife.com
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Yeah, that’s not surprising. #fathersonbonding

I originally placed the kitchen Nucleus intercom on Instant so it would automatically pick up when anyone called. That quickly changed once we discovered George would call from the basement any time he heard someone upstairs. (It got a little crazy to be honest.) But I did enjoy him calling the master bedroom when he was heading to bed because it saved me those extra trips up and down the stairs checking to see if he was ready for his goodnight kiss.

Even at nearly 12 years old, he still likes me to tuck him in at night. I’m not complaining.

After about a week of testing, here’s what we thought of our Nucleus intercom.

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PROS

  • The Nucleus intercom comes in both black and white so you can pair it with just about any decor.
  • Setup is super quick and easy.
  • User interface is intuitive, settings are easy to navigate and we love the one-touch calling.
  • You have two options for mounting: desk stand or wall.
  • The devices are lightweight and easy to move around (if you have them on a stand like we do).
  • Shutter is a nice option for covering the camera, especially if you have a device in a bedroom.
  • The 120-degree HD camera allows you to see the entire room.
  • Alexa option is nice checking the weather, playing music and asking random questions (because that’s what kids do).
  • Love the mobile app for calling home when you don’t have a landline or FaceTime (and Google Hangouts isn’t always reliable).
  • A home-to-home option so grandparents can connect with grandkids, kids can check on elderly parents or parents can check on sleeping children.
  • Nucleus offers a risk-free, 60-day return policy.

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CONS

  • We experienced the occasional audio delay or echo. We haven’t quite figured out how to fix this yet.
  • Alexa isn’t very smart on this device. Sometimes she seems to have a hard time figuring out what we’re asking. We’ve disabled Alexa on most of the devices because she seems to always think we’re talking to her when we’re not.
  • I have yet to feel like we’re experience true HD with the camera, though I do love it’s wide-angle lens.
  • The device doesn’t have an internal battery; if it’s not plugged in, it doesn’t work.

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That last one is my biggest hangup with the Nucleus intercom. I really, really wish it had an internal battery not only so I don’t have to unplug and plug it in every time I decide to move it but also in case of emergency. If the power goes out and I’m not home, I have to rely on Google Hangouts on my old iPad and hope it’s somewhere the kids can find it.

But overall, Nucleus is a welcome addition in our home. George is especially a fan of Alex being able to play Twenty One Pilots any time he requests it and I love calling on my way home to let people know I’ll need help bringing in groceries. I’ll also sleep better knowing those with basement bedrooms can quickly and easily get a hold of me in the middle of the night.

Here’s some video of our new Nucleus devices (Nuclei?) in action!
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Visit NucleusLife.com for more information. You can read customer reviews and purchase your own smart intercom on Amazon.com.

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, you should browse my “best of” Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” Is This Really My Life on Facebook. It won’t earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free Is This Really My Life updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Cherry Pie Salad

2017 May 31
by Emily Hill

Cherry pie salad requires six simple ingredients and less than six minutes to make. The best part? It receives rave reviews whenever I serve it!

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Cherry Pie Salad - Cherry pie salad requires six simple ingredients and less than six minutes to make and receives rave reviews whenever I serve it! | isthisreallymylife.com


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Post may include affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and purchase something, you won’t pay anything extra but it will help support this blog.

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I’m going to be completely honest with you. Using the word salad in this cherry pie salad is totally deceiving. I mean, I serve it like I would any other summer salad—next to whatever we’ve grilled (usually burgers) along with watermelon, chips and an icy beverage. But this salad is on par with my mom’s pistachio pudding salad in that it tastes like more like dessert than something I can count as my daily recommended serving of veggies.

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Cherry Pie Salad - Cherry pie salad requires six simple ingredients and less than six minutes to make and receives rave reviews whenever I serve it! | isthisreallymylife.com

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I love any dish that comes together quickly and easily and can be made with ingredients stored in my pantry. Cherry pie salad totally fits those requirements thanks to six canned/containered/packaged ingredients you toss together and refrigerate.

And yes, I used the word containered.

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Cherry Pie Salad - Cherry pie salad requires six simple ingredients and less than six minutes to make and receives rave reviews whenever I serve it! | isthisreallymylife.com

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I know for a fact you can make cherry pie salad a couple days ahead of time and it still tastes great. Yay for make-ahead recipes that cut down on prep time the day you hosting your family party!

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Cherry Pie Salad - Cherry pie salad requires six simple ingredients and less than six minutes to make and receives rave reviews whenever I serve it! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Everyone raved about this summer salad except George and Livi, but I think that’s due to the pecans. Neither one is a fan of nuts in their salads. Or desserts. Fortunately the rest of our partygoers were happy to polish off their servings. I think it had something to do with that cherry pie filling.

Go with Comstock Country Cherry Pie Filling & Topping. It’s the best, trust me.

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Cherry Pie Salad - Cherry pie salad requires six simple ingredients and less than six minutes to make and receives rave reviews whenever I serve it! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Printable recipe for cherry pie salad below. Enjoy!
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Cherry Pie Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Cherry pie salad requires six simple ingredients and less than six minutes to make and receives rave reviews whenever I serve it! Serves approx. 8 to 10.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Salad
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (20-oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (20-oz) can cherry pie filling
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 (8-oz) container Cool Whip, defrosted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Combine sweetened condensed milk, pineapple and cherry pie filling in a large bowl. Mix until combined.
  2. Fold in marshmallows, Cool Whip and pecans. Chill several hours or overnight before serving.

 
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Best Ever Macaroni Salad -- Who knew macaroni salad could be incredibly easy AND incredibly delicious? This macaroni salad is just that with the perfect blend of veggies and creamy dressing. | isthisreallymylife.com


Best-ever macaroni salad

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Creamy Bacon Broccoli Salad -- This creamy bacon broccoli salad is one of the best broccoli salads I've tasted. It features bacon, grapes, sunflower seeds and a creamy low-fat dressing. | isthisreallymylife.com


Creamy bacon broccoli salad

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Corn salad with tomato, basil and feta -- the perfect way to highlight farm fresh corn in the summer!


Corn salad with tomato, basil & feta

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The Best Asian Ramen Chicken Salad Ever -- power up the taste and nutrients of Asian ramen salad with 6 superfoods, rotisserie chicken and a to-die-for dressing!


Asian ramen chicken salad

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Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad


Pepperoni pizza pasta salad

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Homestyle macaroni salad


Homestyle macaroni salad

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Pistachio Pudding Salad -- My mom is famous for this pistachio pudding salad, and while it is more dessert than salad, it's still the perfect summer side dish! | isthisreallymylife.com


Pistachio pudding salad (my mom’s specialty)

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, you should browse my “best of” Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” Is This Really My Life on Facebook. It won’t earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free Is This Really My Life updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Baked Chicken Fingers with Homemade Honey Mustard Sauce

2017 May 26
by Emily Hill

Corn flakes and spices are the secret to these healthy baked chicken fingers with homemade honey mustard. This recipe is totally kid tested and approved!

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Baked Chicken Fingers - Corn flakes and spices are the secret to these healthy baked chicken fingers with homemade honey mustard. This recipe is totally kid tested and approved! | isthisreallymylife.com


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Post may include affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and purchase something, you won’t pay anything extra but it will help support this blog.

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Who doesn’t love chicken fingers? They’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and serve as the perfect vehicle for delivering ranch dressing, barbecue sauce and honey mustard sauce from dipping bowl to mouth. Plus they’re finger food, which makes them even better.

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Baked Chicken Fingers - Corn flakes and spices are the secret to these healthy baked chicken fingers with homemade honey mustard. This recipe is totally kid tested and approved! | isthisreallymylife.com

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These baked chicken fingers are super versatile. You can add or remove seasonings, double your favorites or try making them exactly as the recipe states. If you want to kick up the spice level, try adding cayenne pepper. You could even throw in a dash of ground cumin—go crazy! I usually make them fairly mild for those family members who aren’t into spicy, but next time I totally want to try spicing them up.

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Baked Chicken Fingers - Corn flakes and spices are the secret to these healthy baked chicken fingers with homemade honey mustard. This recipe is totally kid tested and approved! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Don’t forget the honey mustard dipping sauce. I’m a huge fan of Chick-fil-A sauce and although this isn’t a true copycat Chick-fil-A recipe, it does come close. I firmly believe in using raw honey in all my recipes and on top of all my cornbread. It really does taste the best.

You can find a 2-ingredient copycat Chick-fil-A Sauce recipe here.

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Baked Chicken Fingers - Corn flakes and spices are the secret to these healthy baked chicken fingers with homemade honey mustard. This recipe is totally kid tested and approved! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Printable recipe for baked chicken fingers with honey mustard sauce below. Enjoy!
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Healthy Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A healthy take on the classic chicken fingers recipe. This one features cornflakes and leaves out the deep frying. Change up the spices until you have the right amount of seasoning and kick!
Author:
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
Chicken fingers
  • 5 cups cornflakes
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ to 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp seasoning salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 T skim milk
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Honey mustard sauce
  • ½ cup plus 2 T low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 T Dijon mustard
  • 4 T honey
  • 1 T lemon juice
Instructions
Chicken fingers
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat two large baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Place cornflakes in a blender or food processor and process until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
  3. In a shallow dish, combine cornflakes, poultry seasoning, pepper, garlic powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another shallow dish, whisk together egg whites and milk. Set aside.
  5. Cut chicken into strips or large pieces. Dip each strip into egg mixture, then in crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides. Place on baking sheet.
  6. Spray tops of chicken fingers with cooking spray. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and coating is golden brown. Serve hot.
Honey Mustard Sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

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If you’re a Chick-fil-A fan, I’m certain you will love this recipe for copycat Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets with Chick-fil-A sauce.

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Copycat Chick-fil-A Nuggets and Chick-fil-A Sauce -- This copycat recipe comes super close to the original and is super fun to serve to kids of all ages!

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, you should browse my “best of” Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” Is This Really My Life on Facebook. It won’t earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free Is This Really My Life updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Pineapple Coconut Protein Smoothie

2017 May 24
by Emily Hill

This pineapple coconut protein smoothie is perfect for those who love the heavenly combination of pineapple and coconut and want a healthy way to drink it!

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Pineapple Coconut Protein Smoothie - This pineapple coconut protein smoothie is perfect for those who love the heavenly combination of pineapple and coconut and want a healthy way to drink it! | isthisreallymylife.com


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This is a sponsored post for Purely Inspired; all thoughts and opinions are mine. Post may include affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and purchase something, you won’t pay anything extra but it will help support this blog.

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Yay for warm, summer weather! Utah has had some crazy temps that last few weeks—even a bit of snow—and it’s nice to finally see some serious sunshine. And though I’m fully aware you can drink protein smoothies all year long, I find them extra refreshing from May to September. My favorite smoothies involve pineapple because it’s as close to the tropics as I’m going to get for a while. If it has coconut like this pineapple coconut protein smoothie, even better!

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Pineapple Coconut Protein Smoothie - This pineapple coconut protein smoothie is perfect for those who love the heavenly combination of pineapple and coconut and want a healthy way to drink it! | isthisreallymylife.com

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As far as I’m concerned, pineapple and coconut is as heavenly a combination as peanut butter and chocolate. This protein smoothie has the perfect combination of pineapple and coconut flavors and uses unsweetened coconut milk and unsweetened shredded coconut to help limit the amount of added sugar. It also has a boost of vanilla flavor and protein thanks to french vanilla protein powder from Purely Inspired. So basically it’s as good for you as eating celery.

.Pineapple Coconut Protein Smoothie - This pineapple coconut protein smoothie is perfect for those who love the heavenly combination of pineapple and coconut and want a healthy way to drink it! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Almost.

.Pineapple Coconut Protein Smoothie - This pineapple coconut protein smoothie is perfect for those who love the heavenly combination of pineapple and coconut and want a healthy way to drink it! | isthisreallymylife.com

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The recipe for this protein smoothie makes two “healthy” servings, so keep that in mind when whipping up a batch of this summery yumminess!

Printable recipe for pineapple coconut protein smoothie below. Enjoy!
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Pineapple Coconut Protein Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This pineapple coconut protein smoothie is perfect for those who love the heavenly combination of pineapple and coconut and want a healthy way to drink it!
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ to ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ to ¾ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 scoop Purely Inspired French Vanilla Organic Protein (or your favorite protein powder)
  • 3 cups frozen unsweetened pineapple chunks
  • 2 T unsweetened shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients in blender in order listed. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

.Pineapple Coconut Protein Smoothie - This pineapple coconut protein smoothie is perfect for those who love the heavenly combination of pineapple and coconut and want a healthy way to drink it! | isthisreallymylife.com

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Protein-Packed Low-Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie -- This chocolaty, peanut-buttery, protein-packed smoothie is low carb thanks to unsweetened almond milk, cocoa powder and no-calorie sweetener. | isthisreallymylife.com


Protein-packed low-carb chocolate peanut butter smoothie

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Healthy Strawberry Orange Protein Smoothie -- Orange juice, strawberries, banana and vanilla protein powder come together in this delicious healthy strawberry orange protein smoothie.


Healthy strawberry orange protein smoothie

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Pineapple Coconut Mango Smoothie -- This smoothie has only five ingredients and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. It features fresh or frozen mango, frozen pineapple, Greek yogurt, coconut milk and banana. So yummy and great for workouts!


Pineapple coconut mango smoothie

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.


Antioxidant-packed tropical berry smoothie

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 - only 3 ingredients and so yummy!


Pina colada smoothie

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Copycat Peanut Butter Moo'd Smoothie


Copycat peanut butter moo’d smoothie

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If you’re looking for more yummy recipes, you should browse my “best of” Pinterest board.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” Is This Really My Life on Facebook. It won’t earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free Is This Really My Life updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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